Clippers’ George overcomes struggles, Nuggets stay alive

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul George drives to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks' Boban Marjanovic during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP)
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Updated 27 August 2020

Clippers’ George overcomes struggles, Nuggets stay alive

  • George says after being in a "dark place" he has finally got rid of the demons

LOS ANGELES: Paul George says his struggles are over as he scored a team-high 35 points on Tuesday night to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a dominating 154-111 playoff victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

George rebounded from three sub-par performances to combine offensively with Kawhi Leonard and give the Clippers a 3-2 series lead.

George opened up after the game about his struggles with coping inside the NBA's quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida where the players have to adhere to strict health and safety measures and no spectators are allowed into the arena.

George says after being in a "dark place" he has finally got rid of the demons and is ready to help the Clippers with their playoff run.

"The bubble got the best of me. I was in a dark place," said George, who spoke with a team therapist before game five. "I wasn't here, I checked out.

"I was just in a bad place. I found my way. I am back and I look forward to the rest of this run. A shout out to people that stood behind me and were in my corner."

George said he is now using mental tricks to raise his level of play.

"It was hard to get into playoff mode with no intensity, no fans, and no atmosphere," he said.

"We created the energy. I came in with the attitude that this is Staples arena and the place is packed. I had to create my own energy."

Game six is Thursday.

The Clippers shot a spectacular 63.1 percent from the floor and 62.9 percent (22-of-35) from beyond the arc.

Leonard finished with 32 points and Montrezl Harrell added 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles.

Mavericks top scorer Luka Doncic finished with just 22 points after scoring 43 and nailing the game winner in overtime in Game 4.

Jamal Murray scored 42 points and Nikola Jokic had 31 as the Denver Nuggets avoided elimination with a 117-107 victory over the Utah Jazz in game five of their playoff series.

Denver looked tired in Game 3, but they bounced back nicely in games 4 and 5 and now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.

Canada's Murray scored 33 of his points in the second half, taking over the game with four minutes to go and the score even at 101-101.

Michael Porter had 15 points and Jerami Grant added 13 for the Nuggets, who swept the regular season series over the Jazz.

The Nuggets also figured out how to slow down Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 30 points on Tuesday.

The third-year guard scored a career-high 57 points in the overtime loss in game one and was averaging 39.5 points heading into game five.

Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson had 17 points each, and Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Utah. Joe Ingles added 13 points, and Royce O'Neale scored 10. With 80 seconds to go in the fourth, Murray drained a step back jumper to put the Nuggets ahead 110-101.

Mitchell knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, but Grant helped seal the victory by hitting four free throws in the final 14 seconds.

European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

Updated 27 November 2020

European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

  • The February tourney looks set to be one of the strongest events on European Tour schedule

JEDDAH: European Ryder Cup stars Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood join defending champion Graeme McDowell in looking to get their campaign to qualify for the 2021 European Ryder Cup team off to the strongest possible start at the Saudi International.

The tournament, powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, will take place  Feb. 4 -7 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.

With world No. 1 and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau confirmed for the event, along with reigning Open champion Shane Lowry and US stars Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, the strength of the field means huge ranking points will be on offer for Europe’s leading golfers as they look to get their 2021 qualifying efforts off to a fast start and secure a coveted place on the 2021 European Ryder Cup team.

With a lineup that looks set to ensure that the Saudi International will be one of the strongest events on the 2021 European Tour schedule, Golf Saudi is looking to build on the momentum resulting from hosting two extremely successful Ladies European Tour events this month as interest and participation in golf continues to grow in the Kingdom.

Fleetwood, a six-time winner on the European Tour and standout player in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in Paris in 2018, is making his debut this year in the Saudi International. He said: “From all I’ve heard from the lads who played there the last couple of years, the Saudi International has established itself as one of the leading events on the European Tour both in terms of set up and facilities as well as quality of the field, which is really impressive this year.”

Poulter, who played for the first time in the 2020 edition, said: “I really enjoyed the tournament at the beginning of this year and am psyched to be returning next February. The course sets up for my game rather nicely so I was pretty frustrated to only finish in the top 20 and will certainly be aiming to finish rather higher up the leaderboard this year!

“It’s a fantastic championship course with some amazing vistas and I also really like the fact we get to play a part in introducing golf to a whole new audience in a new region. With Ryder Cup qualification on the line, I am obviously looking to get my campaign off to a fast start and getting a decent finish or winning the Saudi International against such a stellar field would be massive.

“It’s been a really weird year with the pandemic so we are all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 and I am hoping it is also a strong start as I keep my eyes firmly focused on qualifying for the European team at Whistling Straits,” he added.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “This announcement marks yet another amazing group of golf stars joining our 2021 field and the excitement of all the players to kick off afresh in 2021, in Saudi Arabia, is heartening to hear.

“The lineup for the tournament is looking strong and with more players still to be announced in the coming weeks — and on the back of two excellent Ladies European Tour events earlier this month — we are very much looking forward to the third edition of our tournament. We believe it will be the strongest installment to date and will serve as a fabulous illustration that Saudi Arabia is open for business.”